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The Drive to Remove the Gorge Dam Faces Challenges

Gorge Dam

President Trump is proposing to eliminate funding for the Great Lake Restoration Initiative and slash the U.S. EPA by 31 percent.  But a group of Ohio stakeholders called “Free the Falls” is still optimistic it can find federal money for a $70 million dollar project to eliminate the largest dam on the Cuyahoga River. 

Dredging 800 thousand tons of sediment and then tearing down a 400-foot long solid concrete dam may be the easy part.  Funding it is hard.

Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters told a town hall meeting last night about the economic benefits from tourism if the big Gorge Dam is eliminated.

“If the dam would come down that would open up roughly 2 and ½ miles of the challenging whitewater and there’s nothing that replicates that east of the Mississippi," Walters said.

Summit County Metropark'sElaine Marsh had a long complicated mixture of possible funding sources.  “With the U.S. EPA if they’re the funding partner.. The city of Akron has made a connection to ODNR... It depends on which part of the Great Lake Restoration Initiative... US Fish & Wildlife,  NOAA, U.S. E.P.A., and U.S.G.S."

The latest plan is going to the Great Lakes Legacy Actfor funding to clean up certain contaminated water areas including the Cuyahoga River.

Supporters are confident that Great Lakes politicians from both parties will keep clean water funding intact.